Increased vertical wind shear--a tearing action which can pull a storm apart and is caused by differences in wind speed or direction with altitude--historically has been associated with reduced hurricane activity and intensity. While other studies have linked global warming to greater hurricane intensity, this study is the first to identify changes in wind shear that could counteract that effect, the scientists say.
"Wind shear is one of the dominant controls to hurricane activity, and the models project substantial increases in the Atlantic," says oceanographer Gabriel A. Vecchi of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Princeton, New Jersey.
Using 18 different models, he and Brian J. Soden of the University of Miami, Florida, assessed changes in environmental factors linked to hurricane formation and intensity. In particular, they investigated potential variation in vertical wind shear over the tropical Atlantic and its ties to the Pacific Walker circulation. That vast loop of winds influences climate across much of the globe and varies in concert with El Nino and La Nina oscillations. In the new work, the models mostly predict a slowing of the Pacific Walker circulation, leading to greater wind shear throughout much of the tropical Atlantic.
"The impact on hurricane activity of the projected shear change could be as large -- and in the opposite sense -- as that of the warming oceans," Vecchi says. In other regions, such as the western tropical Pacific, the study finds that global warming renders the environment more favorable for hurricanes.
Vecchi and Soden report their findings today in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
The simulations incorporated a mid-range emissions scenario from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment -- the latest of those assessments. According to the emissions scenario, the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide stabilizes at 720 parts per million by the year 2100. The wind-shear study examines two 20-year periods during this century: 2001-2020 and 2081-2100.
Vecchi notes that projections of increased wind shear found in the study are confined to the tropical Atlantic and East Pacific.
Moreover, factors besides global warming also contribute to change in Atlantic wind shear. The new simulations, Vecchi adds, provide "one piece of the puzzle" of how increased wind shear may affect hurricane activity.
For animations and still images depicting wind shear's impact on a hurricane, please visit the NOAA web site at: http://gfdl.noaa.gov/~gav/ipcc_viz.html
As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation
29.03.2017 | University of Hawaii at Manoa
Researchers discover dust plays prominent role in nutrients of mountain forest ecoystems
29.03.2017 | University of Wyoming
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences